Today we have a truly delicious meal: butter chicken with basmati rice. You can see right there on the package, it says that it’s authentic.
Step one: remove tray from the box. Next, for step two: put the tray in the microwave. And finally, step three: remove from the microwave and eat.
Okay, so maybe I’m not that good around the kitchen. But I do understand the value of cooking from home, and truth be told, I do have three solid meals under my belt, if you count pancakes as a meal.
As many of us are adapting our diets to living and working from home, there’s one thing that remains obvious: either you plan out your meals for the week or you face the insatiable urge to rummage through your fridge or pantry, snacking all day long.
If you wanna save time, money and eat healthier, you might think about meal prep. And so with my lack of experience in the kitchen and to get the most out of meal prep, I knew I had to ask an expert for help. His name is Kevin.
Kevin is an everyday home cook, he have like a million followers. He’s got a passion for creating healthy meals with a kick. His specialty? Meal prep.
I invited Kev over to get his advice on how to better meal prep and to also challenge him to make me the simplest meal prep recipe he could think of. So the brief was to create a minimalist meal prep. –
[Kevin] Right. – What meal did you choose for us today? – So, I thought about it and I think I’m gonna choose fried rice.
It’s one of the most minimal ones out there, it’s just five ingredients, and it’s customizable, it’s really affordable, and takes just maybe about 15 – 20 minutes to make.
And that’s important because when you select a meal prep recipe, have something that you can make really quickly, so that way mid-week, if you wanna make it again and swap in something else, you can do that. And guess what? No food waste. And it’s food that you actually want to eat, it’s variety.
– [Matt] So before Kevin came over, I went grocery shopping. I messed up the brief a little bit and got fresh veggies. Obviously, totally fine to make these recipes with fresh veggies, but to keep things simple and to speed up the cooking time, Kev recommends using a bag of frozen carrots and peas.
Kev also recommends eco-friendly meal prep containers that I picked up, there’s link in the description if you’re interested in getting them.
The recipe, as Kevin mentioned, includes just five ingredients: eggs, scallions, day-old rice, Because it gets really nice and crispy.
If you use fresh rice, it can get really soggy. A bag of frozen carrots and peas, and chicken. I think one of the interesting challenges here for you is going to be cooking in a minimalist kitchen.
I mean, I tell you, I’ve got a pan, I’ve got a knife
So let’s just see how we navigate through this. I’m gonna do what I do good. So first up, we need to prepare all of our ingredients, by cutting up our vegetables and our protein.
– [Kevin] This is so satisfying. You know, when you’re looking at the minimal recipes, I don’t really count things that you’re probably gonna have already inside of your pantry or your fridge.
So garlic is one thing that you should definitely have. Mm, look at the flavor! Mm! Hey, Matt, this is a really sharp knife, man.
– [Kevin] I like to just pull out this chicken breast.
– [Matt] So what are some of the mistakes that people make when they are meal prepping?
– I think the biggest one and the most common one is that people do way too much, and they see the Instagram photos of people and their entire counter is filled up with all these containers of food and being like, “Yeah, I’m prepped for the week!”
And they know darned well that by Friday, or actually, Thursday or Wednesday, they’re throwing that food away because they’re tired of it. So the number one thing is don’t prep too much, because that’s gonna lead to food waste. We’re gonna take off the skin too, just so we can save a little bit on the calories.
[Matt] After we’re done prepping, we’re ready to cook. I offered Kevin my microwave but for some reason, he declined.
– We’re gonna keep the heat just a little bit lower than usual. So I’m gonna spray in a little bit of coconut oil. You’re free to use just regular oil.
I’m gonna add in some garlic and this is the part where you wanna add in some of the aromatics, so the green onion. There we go. As soon as you hear that sound, just start stirring. And this’ll look different if you actually pour in some oil rather than using the spray.
Now, when we cook with too much oil, we burn out all the nutrients in the food too. So that’s what we also don’t want. And then here, when you add the rice, you can boost it up just a little bit, to medium, a little bit between medium and medium high.
We wanna toast the rice and we get all that fragrance before from the garlic and the onions, we want this just to get juice inside of it. We won’t have to cook this long too, for about two to three minutes.
– [Matt] I mean, it’s obviously a very short recipe. But while you’re in it, it’s just constant moving with the pan. – Yeah, constant movement, especially with this type of skillet because it’s stainless steel and we’re not using a lot of oil, so it has the tendency to go ahead and stick, and that’s why you wanna really watch the heat of the skillet too.
Next, we are going to add in our chicken. You don’t have to wait for the rotisserie to be cold either, you can actually buy it fresh, when it’s already hot and chop it up and put it in here.
I’m gonna drop the heat just a little bit ’cause we’re gonna add in some eggs. Just make a hole right here in the skillet. If you need to, only if you need to, you can spray it just a bit more, and what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna crack in some eggs.
Scramble this up right here in the middle of the skillet, and then just go ahead and just move everything together. You can scrape the bottom of the skillet, get all of that, because that is really good goodness too.
We’re gonna add in some frozen peas and then our fresh carrots, and a little bit more of the green onion. And then as you’re folding everything together, don’t worry about the peas because they will thaw out under the heat of the rice.
And as it’s cooking, just add in some flavor. Get your soy sauce or your aminos. This hasn’t even been 15 minutes yet. That’s why it’s such an easy one to do mid-week if you want something else or if you just want a fresh batch of it.
I’m gonna take this off the heat. Ah, here’s what I’m looking for: sesame oil. Ooh! This is a great add-on, this is gonna make everything just really super sexy. Add a little bit more of the green onion and then some toasted sesame.
Now, remember, this stuff is not required, so I know people are gonna write me, “That’s not five ingredients, that’s not it.” We know, and I know. So there you go, boom! Simple recipe. – Beautiful. – Less than 20 minutes, less than 15, technically.
I’m gonna eat this everyday. Now, this tastes phenomenal. But no matter how good something tastes, like you said, if you overdo it and you do it too much, you might not finish that seventh or eighth meal prep that you made.
So I love that you can just add some variety to swap out the protein. – You can swap out the carrots for some bell peppers, you can swap out the protein, get some shrimp, some tofu, if you’ve got someone that’s plant-based.
And that right there is how to make a versatile, minimalist, affordable, quick, family-friendly, multipurpose meal prep. I learned a lot, I love just finding these simple ideas and recipes that help us live a healthier life.